Failure of local government in NMB: Taking Legislature to the People

The annual Taking Legislature to the People is being held in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro (NMBM) from 20-23 October, at the Missionvale Campus of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.  

Below is the speech delivered by Athol Trollip, speaking on the portfolio committee report on local government in NMBM.

Hon Speaker, it is indeed opportune that I represent my colleagues and the DA in this debate. 

I’d like to start by responding to the Hon Ntantiso Abrahams, who said that the ANC as the government of the “nation” cannot forget where they came from. I agree that our past is relevant; however it is clear that her recollection of her party’s Freedom Charter and the provisions of our constitution is less impressive. 

 

Let me remind her, the Freedom Charters preamble says, ” We the people of SA, declare for all our country and the world to know, that SA belongs to all who live in it Black and White and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people.”

 

Our Constitution also says, “and believes that, “SA belongs to all who live in it, United in our diversity.” 

Sonke singabantu besizwe sasemzantsiAfrika.”Yiyo lento singakethi siyi DA ngobala onkanye ngobuhlanga. ukwenza lonto, sisifo!!! (We are all people of the nation of SA, that’s why we the DA don’t select on race and color, to do so is an illness.) 

 

The DA is not offering the people of this country and this Metro a promise of a better yesterday; we are offering you an offer of a better tomorrow. 

 

Hon Nqatha, gets this and he correctly said in the Herald on Monday that, “the days of the ANC relying on its struggle credentials are over!” He went on to say that, “we must ensure that the economy of the country benefits the majority of our country that is the task that we have”. When did he come to this realization? Was it when the ANC realized that this Metro has the highest Youth unemployment 47.3% and general unemployment 36% of all Metro’s. Or was it when the ANC went below 50%. 

Benisenzantoni ngapambili nisithi uyakupatha iANC abuyeuJesu? (What have you been doing all this time whilst saying the ANC will govern until the return of Christ?) 

 

When officials talk to DA public representatives when we are doing our oversight and our constitutional duty, they are not Impimpi’s they are merely people who feel and appreciate the winds of change that are blowing through this Metro and they are excitedly anticipating the change that is coming. 

Hulle wag opgewonde vir die geleentheid en om vir ‘n nuwe regering te werk

 

Yes! 1994 heralded in long overdue change and it offered millions of people hope, this hope has started fading over the past 21 years and five months.

 

It is at local government level were this hope has faded most tragically and this fading of hope is manifesting in violent service delivery protests, just outside this venue on the Uitenhage road the scars of this protest are visible on the scorched tar as testimony to this fading hope. 

 

Just behind this building there is a stark example that highlights the failure of local government in this Metro, the same failure that this report exposes. 

 

In the informal settlement just here, called Vistarus, there are no sanitation facilities whatsoever, the people here dig their own crude pit latrines and when they are full they dig the next hole in their front yards. This is a serious health hazard. There is no electricity and water stand pipes are few are far between and they leak continuously. 

 

Their refuse is not removed and piles up in putrid mountains where unsuspecting children play, because the Metro municipality says its refuse trucks cannot enter the area due to the overhead izinyoka connections. The irony though is that the neighboring new RDP Metro housing development also doesn’t have any refuse removal and their mountain of refuse has blocked storm water drains that causes flooding of some low lying houses. 

 

Across the old Uitenhage road, there are new RDP houses, many of which require “rectification “before the beneficiaries even take occupation; many have taken occupation without any “rectification” of incomplete houses. The double dipping that is happening in the construction and rectification process has become an opportunity for unbridled corruption; it is a reflection on the inefficiency of the current Metro government. How can we pay contractors for building incomplete and poorly built houses that people reject? Here at Missionvale gardens we see new houses built without toilets or any bulk infrastructure service provision. 

Hierdie Mense in nuwe huise het ook nie toilette nie, net soos hulle bure in Vistarus. 

 

How long will people continue voting for a party and a government that builds houses without toilets and toilets without houses? 

 

Hayi, Somlomo, imandate ebezidla ngayo ilungu elibekekileyo uSokujika, yokhu patha apha eBayi, ayiyo la 72%, imandate yenu ibiyi 48% ngo 2011. Iyaphela lo mandate ngo 2016. (no Speaker the majority that hon Sokujika was bragging about, is not 72% in this Metro, it was a slight 48% in 2011, this mandate will end in 2016.) 

 

We are not anti-majoritarian! To the contrary my friend we are preparing to be the new majority here so that we can implement our policies in Government. Yimajority ye DA eKapa eyikrakrayo kuKongolo,  kuba kalokhu nithi nawupatha abuye uJesu.( it’s the DA majority in the Cape that is so bitter for the ANC, because you say you will govern until the return of Christ) 

 

I am not going to warn about the ide’s of March, nor quote Amilka Cabral about not telling lies or claiming easy victories; I’m going to Quote ZiziKodwa who called me a, “white Messiah”. In this regard I am reminded what the former communist China leader, Deng Xiaoping said, “It doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white as long as it catches mice”

 

There are many rats and mice that need to be caught here in the metro. The DA is a party for All South Africans, 

asikethi ngobuhlanga nangobala! Xasiketha umgqatswa wosodolophu sikethaiKati ezizakhuzitya ezimpuku ezithoba ubomibabantubalapha eBayi. (the DA doesn’t select its candidates on race or color, we simply select, cats that will catch the mice that impugn human dignity) 

 

With regard to this committees report that Hon Ntantiso Abrahams went to such lengths to explain to this sitting, I want to confirm that it is the product of multiparty collaboration and the property of this house. This report is NOT A GOOD STORY TO TELL not by any stretch of anybody’s imagination. 

 

In fact this report is a legacy of one failed ANC administration after another. Since we became a metro in 2000 things started going downhill. We have had 6 Mayors in 15 years, those who have presided over underperforming and failed Governments have been processed through the revolving door of Cadre deployment to other highly paid positions in government or as government advisors. 

 

However the most concerning indicator of a collapsed administration is the fact that we have had six municipal managers not to mention acting Municipal Managers in the same period. Not one has finished their contract period and all have been given comradely golden handshakes with the exception of Mrs. Msengana Ndlela who was unlawfully hounded out of office by Mayor Benson Fihla at a court ordered cost of R3.1 million to taxpayers. This means that we have effectively paid almost double for the services of our municipal managers since 2000.  For What? To have an embarrassing report like this? I think not!  It’s time to change this administration. 

 

Perhaps the worst part of this report if it could possibly be worse is that the outcomes from the committees meeting with the audit and municipal public accounts committee. This report is a really EMBARRASSING STORY TO TELL. 

 

It’s a disgrace, lihlazo dit is n skande!

 

Hayi mhlekazi uSokujika, lo majority ubqayisela ngayo ayisekho apha eBhayi. (no Hon Sokujica that majority you were bragging about is no longer here in the NMBM). In fact for those who still want to give the ANC and whoever their mayoral candidate will be, another chance, this report has swayed them to realize that, basenga iinkabi and Aba bebefanele bephethe umcimbi okulawula basengela pantsi.(those who continue to support this government have realized that they are milking an ox and that those responsible for governance are milking not into a bucket but onto the ground)

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